pri-or-i-ty: n. a thing that is regarded as more important than another.
like many things in my life, i’m often better with priorities in theory than in practice.
[and here, i am talking about personal priorities. when it comes to the bigger picture stuff — juggling tasks for a job or paying bills or taking care of life stuff — i tend to be fairly decent. it’s prioritizing the ‘want’ stuff that i tend to suck at.]
for the sake of this argument, we are going to ignore my relationship with school…or are we? because when i was at uni, with the exception of the year when i was sick, school nearly always came first — even in front of family and self-care.
maybe that is a perfect example of my relationship with the nebulous-to-me concept of ‘priorities’.
the common thread in my life, then, is that when it comes to priorities, i am more often than not a tad extreme. so maybe balance is really the thing i am better with in theory than in practice.
[i meant this to be more cohesive but instead, come with me on this thought journey across my keyboard.]
balance and priorities are nearly synonyms [in spirit, not language]. to achieve balance, you have to know what and how to prioritize. but you can prioritize without achieving balance. all prioritizing is is indicating what you think is most important and, more specifically, what you choose to invest your time and energy in. and if you invest wisely, you [theoretically] inevitably discover balance, but if you invest poorly, you end up digging yourself into a deeper hole than you were in to begin with.
if i survey my current life honestly, my priorities would probably look like this:
working diligently at my job. spending time with my husband. professional wrestling. stressing about money. buying books. watching youtube. and somewhere after commuting to work: reading books and writing snippets of things that i ‘might revisit someday’.
some of those are realistic [and probably healthy] priorities. maintaining a committed relationship, building a career — those are great! but some of the other stuff, from a pretentious third-person perspective, seem like objective time-wastes. watching four hours of youtube throughout a given day does not [necessarily] yield anything of value in my life. going into bookstores to acquire even more books that i won’t read because i’m spending all my time online or in bookstores seems nonsensical. and yet, that is the cycle of ‘priority’ i have found myself lost in for the last several months.
wrestling is fun. wrestling is something my husband and i share, that i can watch whether i want to tune the world out or dig in deep and analyze something. of course, i could spend the five or so hours a week i watch wrestling reading instead, and probably yield a similar emotional response. but i like wrestling, and that’s new for me, and i kind of want to explore what this could mean to me for a while longer before making difficult choices regarding what i can ‘afford’ to watch.
part of my struggle with priorities lately has been this shift in self — a year ago, my idea of entertainment was watching reruns of the tudors on netflix. i was in a weird transition with my reading which, if i’m honest, i’m still sort of working through, which might explain why reading is more stressful than it once was. i can’t rely upon a book to satisfy me right now because so many in the last three or so years have burned me.
in that same vein, i am struggling to find myself in my writing again. i could spend hours pondering a single question: what do i want to write? in the yonder days of this blog, i thought all roads led to ya, but now, i only pick up ya on rare occasion, and the ideas i have for stories and books and poems veer into stranger territory than i ever thought i would go. and that honestly terrifies me even as it excites me that i might be doing some of the best work i’ve ever done.
but that’s the rub — when am i writing? in fleeting moments on my lunch break or in the morning or right before i fall asleep? i’ve said over and over for more than two decades that all i want to do is write. so why, when i know i could make the time if i really wanted to, am i not making the time? do i really not want to? or am i afraid to commit for fear of failing myself? or is it not all that complicated — am i just lazy or entitled or wallowing?
whatever the reason, i haven’t finished a project in four years. that’s too long.
so what do i do now? i’ve stirred up these feelings in myself via blog post too many times to count. and i have left, at least in the last few years, with it not yielding anything real.
how do i make what i want real?
maybe i can’t. maybe i don’t have the stomach or the spine or the mind for it.
i was once so determined. i told my family or friends or strangers who doubted me, ‘i may not have the talent for this gig, but i am determined to make it mine.’
if i can get to the root of that feeling again, i might have hope for this.
until then, friends, let me know how you stay focused. how you prioritize whatever it is you prioritize, whether it be writing or art or physics or molecular gastronomy or dogs. how do you force your life into balance?